Democrats have begun their fight against the GOP’s Obamacare replacement.
As the Energy & Commerce committee held its first day of debate over the American Healthcare Care Act — the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — Democrats introduced a series of largely symbolic amendments to add to the bill. While the amendments will be considered by the committee, they have to be approved by a majority vote in the committee in order to officially become part of the bill.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more notable amendments from Democrats, in order of their introduction:
- Change the short title of the AHCA to the “Republican Pay More for Less Care Act.”
- The bill cannot pass unless the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation say it lowers out-of-pocket costs for Americans, lowers premiums, and provides more people coverage. These were three promises made by President Donald Trump in the lead-up to the bill’s introduction. This was defeated by a party-line vote of 23 to 21 overnight.
- The bill cannot pass until “the individual who holds the office of President makes available to the public authenticated copies of the individual’s returns of Federal income tax for the most recent ten taxable years.” In other words, Trump must release his tax returns for the AHCA if the amendment is added.
- The bill cannot leave committee until the CBO has scored the bill and the score has been public for 30 days. There were also a number of other amendments attached to CBO scores including that the CBO must certify more people will have insurance under the AHCA and there will be no reduction in mental health services. A score from the CBO is not expected until next week.
- Strike the “per capita cap-based payments under Medicaid” in the AHCA and stay with the current Medicaid expansion funding. This amendment was also defeated by a 31 to 23 vote.
- Preserve federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which the AHCA would do away with. This was defeated on a party-line 23 to 21 vote.
While it is unlikely any of these measures get added to the bill, the process of adding many amendments could slow down the bill’s passage and allow Democrats to express their displeasure with the AHCA.
The Energy and Commerce committee is still marking up the bill, some 20 hours after kicking off the marathon session.